Few countries have provided the Premier League with talent quite like Belgium in recent years, the nation having produced a ‘Golden Generation’ of players with many of their very finest spending their best years in English football.
Currently the number one ranked country in world football according to FIFA, the Belgians have enjoyed quite the footballing renaissance over the past decade and we’ve decided to look back at some of their greatest Premier League imports.
Here are the five highest-scoring Belgians in Premier League history:
Kevin De Bruyne – 34 goals
Perhaps the finest footballer playing in England at present, Kevin De Bruyne continues to star as the leading light in a formidable Manchester City side under the guidance of Pep Guardiola.
De Bruyne first arrived in the Premier League with Chelsea but failed to make an impression amid a lack of opportunity at Stamford Bridge, making just three league appearances before being shipped out to Wolfsburg.
The midfielder’s departure must surely rank amongst the west London side’s biggest regrets as a young De Bruyne flourished following exposure to regular first-team football, returning to England with City – having been named as Germany’s Footballer of the Year – in a club-record deal just 18 months later.
De Bruyne has since starred as the creative heartbeat of a City side who have shattered a host of league records, winning back-to-back league titles and becoming the first side to reach 100 points and secure a domestic treble.
The fastest player ever to reach 50 Premier League assists and the only player to have managed 15+ assists in three separate campaigns, De Bruyne is the division’s chief creator but retains his own goalscoring threat – scoring 34 league goals to stand as the fifth-highest scoring Belgian in Premier League history.
Marouane Fellaini – 37 goals
There are few players who have polarised opinion throughout their Premier League career quite like Marouane Fellaini.
The big-haired Belgian arrived at Everton as a defensive midfielder before evolving into a potent attacking weapon, his gangly frame, flawless chest control and wayward elbows making Fellaini a nightmarish proposition in opposition penalty boxes.
After five seasons with the Merseyside club he followed former Toffees’ boss David Moyes to Manchester United, where he lasted a great deal longer than Sir Alex Ferguson’s sub-standard successor, flitting between roles of first-choice scapegoat and useful ‘Plan B’ as a battering ram late on in games.
Fellaini spent more than a decade in English football before heading for the financial riches of the Chinese Super League in 2019, departing the Premier League with a record of 37 top-flight goals.
Christian Benteke – 72 goals
Another player who has become somewhat of a figure of fun for opposition fans following his toils in recent years, but one who at the peak of his powers was amongst the most feared forwards in the Premier League.
Christian Benteke arrived in English football from Genk and made an immediate impact at Aston Villa, scoring 23 goals in all competitions during his debut season to be named amongst the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year alongside fellow Belgians Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
Benteke’s spell at Villa Park proved fruitful with his blend of pace and power, thriving as the main man and capitalising on service from wide areas to score 42 goals in just 89 Premier League appearances.
That form prompted a £32.5m move to Liverpool but a change in management saw him fall out-of-favour, signing for Crystal Palace just a year later and enjoying an impressive debut season at Selhurst Park.
Benteke has looked a shadow of his former self since then, however, and has scored just six league goals over the past three seasons – a poor tally from a player who remains the Premier League’s third highest scoring Belgian.
Eden Hazard – 85 goals
The most naturally gifted amongst the batch of talent christened as Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’, the Premier League is a poorer place for the departure of a quintessential playground footballer in Eden Hazard last summer.
Hazard at his best was a unique and mesmerising attacking force, gliding past opposition full-backs with captivating close control and low-centre of gravity.
He spent seven seasons in west London and was the catalyst for Chelsea’s finest moments during that period, winning two Premier League titles and two Europa League trophies amongst his major honours and being named as the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year in 2014/15.
The winger scored 85 league goals in 245 appearances for Chelsea before the lure of Real Madrid proved too strong, Hazard heading to the Bernabeu as the club’s latest Galactico as he bids to establish himself further amongst the very elite of world football.
Romelu Lukaku – 113 goals
Belgium’s sole representative in the Premier League’s exclusive 100 club, Romelu Lukaku racked up over a century of top-flight goals during a prolific spell in English football.
Lukaku followed a similar path to the aforementioned De Bruyne by failing to make an impact at Chelsea before showcasing his talents elsewhere, impressive loan stints at West Brom and Everton resulting in a permanent club-record move to the latter.
He scored 68 league goals in just 141 appearances on Merseyside before a £75m switch to Manchester United, where – despite much criticism of his overall play – he remained an effective goalscoring machine prior to leaving the club for Inter Milan last summer.
Lukaku’s burly frame and pace bulldozed Premier League defences when at his rampaging best, whilst few have been as ruthless when presented with opportunities in and around the penalty area.
The forward became the fifth-youngest player ever to reach a century of Premier League goals and remains one of the most feared frontmen of recent years, warts and all.